ASARCO (defendant) was a copper-mining firm. ASARCO faced financial trouble and eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Relying on § 327(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, ASARCO hired two law firms (plaintiffs) to provide legal representation during the bankruptcy. The firms prosecuted fraudulent-transfer claims against ASARCO’s parent company and were able to obtain a large judgment in favor of ASARCO. The firms sought compensation under § 330(a) of the Bankruptcy Code. ASARCO, under control of its parent company, challenged the compensation requested by the firms. The Bankruptcy Court rejected ASARCO’s objections and awarded the firms compensation for their work in the bankruptcy proceeding. ASARCO appealed various aspects of the award to the District Court. The court held that the firms could recover fees for defending their fee application. ASARCO appealed, and the appeals court reversed the trial court’s ruling. The Supreme Court then granted certiorari.